Spring 2016
George Richards
Senior Fellow, Energy Conversion Engineering
National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The energy generation landscape in the United States is changing.  Record supplies of shale gas, and growing renewable generation, are offsetting coal power amid various proposals to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  The situation emphasizes the need to understand the potential of different energy sources and conversion, including the ability to capture and store CO2.  State-of-the-art technology can successfully scrub CO2 emissions from today’s coal or natural gas power plants, sending CO2 to permanent geologic storage;  however, existing power plants were not originally designed to reduce or capture CO2. As a result, carbon capture retrofit  to existing plants is costly, and adds an efficiency penalty.  New approaches to energy generation are being developed that can reduce these penalties and accommodate renewable intermittency – producing synergies for both renewable and fossil power generation.

This talk will describe the factors motivating the development of advanced energy systems, emphasizing the multiple criteria new generation must meet, including high-efficiency, zero water use, CO2 control, and accommodation for renewable intermittency. Technical highlights from ongoing research on topics including chemical looping combustion, CO2 power cycles, and combined fuel-cell cycles will also be discussed.


Geo Richards is the Senior Fellow for Energy Conversion Engineering at the National Energy Technology Laboratory.  He has more than 27 years of experience in energy system development, and has lead research on gas turbines, fuel cells, gasification, combustion, chemical looping, magnetohydrodynamics, and geothermal energy.  He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in Mechanical Engineering, and currently serves as an associate editor for AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power.